C&B Notes

Investing is a discipline built on cumulative knowledge, and it requires a continuous evaluation and assessment of new information. The purpose of C&B Notes is to pass along the ideas, concepts, stories, and information that are informing, influencing, and updating our worldview. We use them to build on our “latticework of mental models” that help us make better decisions.

174 articles in list

Just-In-Time Shortages & Opportunity Costs

For the first time since 1931, General Motors has been dethroned as the largest U.S. auto manufacturer.  During 2021, Toyota sold 2.3m cars in the U.S. (up 10%) while GM sold 2.2m (down 13%).  The main reason for this sizeable…

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The Lightest Beer Bottle in the World

Sustainability is an important topic for our businesses, and in the beverage space, sustainability initiatives often lead directly to cost savings. This story about AB InBev’s efforts to reduce waste in packaging is an interesting example. All the beverage companies…

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DuckDuckGo’s Privacy Approach

We take internet privacy seriously and use DuckDuckGo as our primary search engine. Recent Federal warrants being issued for anyone that searched certain keywords should give everyone pause about how they could be innocently wrapped up in an investigation.  But beyond…

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1908 Network Effects

Network effects can be an important competitive advantage for companies. Though the importance of network effects must have been evident in Phoenician trading routes and 19th century railroad companies, the first reference to network effects that we know of comes…

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Weed-Killing Robots

Using the latest technology to improve agriculture yields has been important since at least the beginning of the Iron Age and the resulting iron plow, but we still get excited about it.    In the corner of an Ohio field, a…

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Another Algorithm Application

Geico’s new partnership with Tractable is a different application of algorithms beyond user engagement.  Akin to advances in medicine where computers pattern-match scans to diagnose conditions, Geico and other auto insurers are using technology to speed the insurance claims and repair process.  This win-win approach is both consumer and cost-friendly.  Geico, the…

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China’s Modern Propaganda Machine

Xi Jingping’s consolidation of power in China is not new news.  The ruling party’s re-versioning of history through a modern propaganda effort is both petty and chilling, particularly with the backdrop of widespread human right atrocities in the northwestern part of the country.  Xi’s re-embrace of Mao, rejection…

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Chip Challenges

Chip shortages, driven by huge demand and weather/pandemic-induced production issues, are wreaking havoc on supply chains in a wide variety of industries.  Key players are responding and are changing the nature of the industry, including bringing manufacturing in-house.  For example, Foxconn is acquiring a semiconductor facility.  We cannot help…

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Some Good News

In case you have not seen any of the episodes, we would encourage you to spend a few minutes on John Krasinski’s SomeGoodNews.  Krasinski will lift your spirits and provide a nice antidote to the COVID-19 news flow.  Your whole…

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Malone in Long Form

This interview with John Malone during Liberty’s Investor Day was fantastic, as he covered a lot of ground across media and telecom industries.  We particularly enjoyed his focus on competitive advantages and his assessments of how companies are (or are…

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Online Ad Effectiveness

Google is under antitrust heat for the dominance of its online advertising business.  The WSJ provides a cool visual summary of how the ad serving engine works in various scenarios.  Steve Tadelis has a contrary take, as he challenges the…

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A Quantum Leap?

Quantum computers have been a promise of the future for decades.  Claim by Google of a recent “quantum supremacy” breakthrough has been disputed by other tech giants who are also trying to push the field forward, but we are now…

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